View Full Version : NEW MEMBER: Hello from the Isle of Lewis

15-11-2012, 12:30 PM
Hi folks,

I came across your website this morning and in the last hour I have been amazed at how knowledgeable and helpful you all are. Hats off to you.

I work for a small social enterprise in Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis (250 miles north of Glasgow, plus 40 miles across the sea) where we support individuals with alcohol and other drug addiction problems by way of getting them back to work. There's 2 of us working here full-time plus Margaret in the office works 12 hours a week. We usually have about 8 - 10 individuals who come and work with us 2 or 3 days each per week.

We do a variety of jobs in the community (window cleaning, power washing, gutter cleaning, bouncy castle hire and a bit of recycling). On the recycling side we collect about 1 tonne of clothes every week from our clothing banks (which is crazy for the size of this place), we provide a kerbside recycling service for households (plastic, glass, cans & paper, although we're going to be losing this soon as the Local Authority are extending the areas they serve) and we collect about 2 tonnes of cardboard from businesses which we bale and send to the mainland once we get an artic lorry load.

Everything that comes onto the island comes in a cardboard box on a pallet. We're dealing with the cardboard, but on the pallets I'm looking into the possibility of breaking them up and making something out of them. We've got a few ideas, but obviously don't want to share that with the whole wide world! The slats are generally 1200mm long x 120mm wide x 15mm (up to about 23mm) thick with a few nail holes here and there. I just found out about CNC routers a couple of weeks ago and I'm going over to Glasgow next week to get some training on one - a Heiz S1000.

Looking forward to learning more about the world of cnc!



15-11-2012, 06:36 PM
Hi Robert, and welcome!!
I was over in Lewis and Harris a few years ago and loved it. The beaches were just amazing! Joe

15-11-2012, 07:23 PM
Welcome to the forum Robert, good luck with the cnc venture.

15-11-2012, 07:43 PM
Hi Robert, & welcome.
I do a bit of voluntry work here in Leicester for a small private school for behaviorally challenged young kids, who are no longer able to attend mainstream schools.
We have done all sorts over the years... hydraulic cardboard compactors to make fire bricks, aluminum can crushers... and what made me think of it, we made wishing wells for charities for a while as-well out of old pallets!.
Good luck with your CNC venture. Be careful its very addictive subject once you get reading.7399

Lee Roberts
15-11-2012, 07:49 PM
Hi and Welcome Robert, sounds like you've got your hands full!

Will be intresting to see/read what you come up with re the pallets, what happens to them now?

I know people go around collecting them over here (Wigan) as and when they can and then sell them on, do you guys do this?, just wondering if you could offset the cost of building a diy cnc machine or a commercial unit from selling them back to the system yourself? I think the going rate was about 7.50 a pallet last time i asked.

Building a machine could be a good thing for individuals to focus on if they too got the cnc bug.

Good luck for the future and thanks for supporting your community like you do.


15-11-2012, 07:56 PM
Thanks for the welcome Joe.

Yes, we do have some of the best beaches in the world!

16-11-2012, 03:46 PM
Thanks for your welcome guys.

Kingcreaky - you've certainly got your work cut out for you there, but it's great that the schools have realised the imprtance of giving the kids something hands on and worthwhile to do that they can put to good use later. I looked into the cardboard briquetting a couple of years ago, using a RUF 400 briquetting machine and a heavy duty shredder but the main falling point was that SEPA (Scottish Environmental Protection Agency) were happy for us to burn the briquettes but wanted all sellotape etc removed first of all. The fact that nobody else in Scotland does it already tells its own story. I did meet up with a guy in Cumbria who works as an engineer at Sellafield who produces about 3 tonnes/week in the winter and none in the summer as there was no demand.

Lee - at the moment all the blue pallets get returned to the mainland but the white ones tend to get left outside by various companies and they mysteriously vanish by the time they return in the morning! People tend to use them as fire wood for open fires and wood burning stoves. I'm hoping that with a bit of work on a cnc router that we could use some of the better quality bits of timber on the pallets, that we can make something that folk would be keen to buy. Breaking up the pallets is something that can be done quite easily by our guys and we can all learn how a cnc operates over time and then there is the finished product to wrap and sell. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

I didn't realise just how much the world of cnc's could be so addictive! I found myself waking up this morning thinking about vcarve and traverse speeds. And i took the laptop to bed last night and spent a while surfing various sites looking at different models and reading reviews, much to the disgust of my wife!

Looking forward to learning much more about cnc's on this site and from you guys.

All the best


p.s. - although we have the best beaches, it's a pity the weather isn't that great!